Sonia Nepram talks about her debut film “Gun and a God”
Making a documentary film on a woman who is an ex-insurgent is not easy. It takes a lot of courage to go ahead with such a subject and do justice to it. Independent filmmaker Sonia Nepram took on this subject in her debut documentary Gun and a God. The documentary tells the story of Purnima, an ex-insurgent from Manipur, born to a mentally ill mother and an unknown father.
The film released online recently and was received well for raising the issue of the status of women in Manipur and in society at large. “I tried to show very clear and real situation of women of Manipur through the story of Purnima,” the director says.
A news report on Purnima proved the trigger for the documentary But it was very difficult for Sonia to convince her subject to be a part of this film. It took her almost a year. “She was very suspicious. In starting she denied. But, I constantly tried to convince her. I told her that I want to bring out your story. There is nothing hidden in it,” Sonia remembers.
“I knew it was not going to be an easy task. There was a risk. There was danger because of her past. But, she gradually understood my intention and gave her consent,” she adds. Being an independent filmmaker Sonia had very limited resources to make this film. But, her stint at Jamia Millia Islamia helped her to use limited resources and make the film.
Born and brought up in Imphal, the director has been witnessing the situation of women for years. And when she came to know about Purnima she couldn’t stop herself. Sonia says, “I have many childhood memories of atrocities and violence on women. Now, I constantly ask myself why women always become the victim. This film provided me a platform to raise some very important questions on the situation of women in Manipur.”
Talking about her decision to release the film online, she says, “I wanted to reach the masses that’s why I decided to release this film online. And social media also helped to spread the word about my film.”
Sonia is closely associated with women’s organisations of Manipur, and organises workshops for women.
“I want to create awareness among people. It seems to me that our society is very rigid towards women. This film has given me hope and power to put the real picture. I know this is a very small step. But, I have to fight all odds. I want to bring about a change in attitude and behaviour of people towards women.”